The Staircase: Where Are They Now?

Created by Antonio Campos and based on Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s 2004 documentary series of the same name, ‘The Staircase’ is a true-crime drama limited production that is as intriguing as it is chaotic. That’s essentially because it’s a retelling of the baffling December 2001 death of Kathleen Peterson, along with the equally unpredictable Durham murder trial of her novelist husband, Michael. So now, if you wish to learn the current whereabouts of all the prominent, real-life individuals involved in this twisted, long-drawn, infamous matter, don’t worry; we’ve got the details for you.

Where is Michael Peterson Now?

Although Michael Peterson was found guilty in 2003, he only served 89 months in prison before being granted a retrial once it came to light that a prosecution witness had lied under oath. He was thus placed under house arrest (in 2011), that is, until he submitted an Alford plea to the reduced charge of manslaughter six years later — sentenced to time already served. Michael actually sold the mansion he owned with Kathleen – the site of her demise – during this period.

As per a 2019 report, Michael is currently believed to be residing in a ground-floor apartment, still in Durham, North Carolina. It’s undeniable that Michael’s life is drastically different from what it once used to be, but the 78-year-old convicted felon does have complete freedom these days. We should mention that the novelist has since self-published two books in an attempt to share his side of the story with the world — ‘Behind the Staircase’ and ‘Beyond the Staircase.’

Where is Clayton Peterson Now?

By all accounts, as Michael’s eldest son (from his first wife Patricia “Patty” Sue Peterson), Clayton Peterson always believed in his innocence. He has a bit of a troubled past of his own, considering the fact he spent four years in federal prison during his young adult years, yet he didn’t even hesitate to stand by his father throughout the legal proceedings. Today though, Clayton seems to have established an honest, happy, and stable life in Maryland as an engineer, a loving husband to Rebecca “Becky” Peterson, and a devoted father to their two young boys, Dorian and Lucian.

Where is Todd Peterson Now?

Todd Peterson, Michael’s second son with Patty, was the first of his brood to arrive at the mansion following Kathleen’s demise, and he vehemently backed his father at every step of the way. From what we can tell, the fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur presently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but his LinkedIn profile does suggest he’ll soon be relocating to Miami, Florida. Nevertheless, Todd’s actions over the past two decades have made it clear that the one aspect that’ll never waver is his close bond with his father as well as his siblings (except stepsister Caitlin Atwater).

Where Are Margaret and Martha Ratliff Now?

Image Credit: NBC News

Margaret and Martha Ratcliff grew up as Michael’s adopted daughters after the sudden deaths of their parents in the early 1980s. So yes, their support for him has been steadfast no matter the circumstances. As for their whereabouts, Margaret is reportedly based in Los Angeles, California nowadays, where she works in the entertainment industry as an actress, assistant director, and production manager, among much more. On the other hand, it appears as if Martha, having dealt with anxiety herself, is currently focusing on utilizing her experiences to help others by serving as a mental health counselor in Colorado.

Where is Caitlin Atwater Now?

Caitlin Atwater (Kathleen Peterson’s only biological child) switched allegiance within mere weeks of her mother’s death. Thus, now she’s estranged from most people she grew up around. It seemingly doesn’t bother her too much, though, especially as she has her maternal aunts as well as a family of her own in Virginia, comprising a loving husband and an adorable set of twins. Moreover, Caitlin has her mother’s memories/values instilled in her, which she is trying her best to pass on to her children. “I’m trying to give that to my kids. It’s crazy sometimes, but there is so much of me channeling her,” Caitlin admitted.

Where is Candace Zamperini Now?

Image Credit: NBC News

Both Candace Zamperini and Lori Campbell (Kathleen’s sisters) came to the opinion that Michael was responsible for her passing almost from the get-go, yet the former was inarguably more vocal. In fact, she not only testified at his trial but also gave a rage-filled, emotional victim impact statement when Michael finally entered an Alford plea before even attempting to move on for good.

“This hearing today is as close to justice as anything that I think can be found,” Candace said. She further added, “Not perfect justice, but justice.” Therefore, all we know is that in her 60s, Candace currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, where she prefers to keep well away from the public eye.

Where is Bill Peterson Now?

William “Bill” Peterson is Michael’s brother and the individual responsible for essentially forming his entire legal team — a job he was well-qualified to do, considering he’s an attorney himself. He couldn’t be a part of the official defense counsel, but he rarely missed out on any preparation meetings, brainstorming sessions, or court hearings because he genuinely supported his brother. However, since then, Bill has returned to his home in Reno, Nevada, to focus on his personal and professional endeavors. He currently serves as a practicing partner at a full-service local firm.

Where is David Rudolf Now?

Michael’s primary attorney David Rudolf has literally moved on with his life since the case came to a close — he relocated from North Carolina to Toronto, Canada, for a better familial environment in 2021. With that said, even though he’s working for a company named Brauti Thorning LLP in the northern country, David still seems to be associated with his private, local law firm, Rudolf Widenhouse.

As if that’s not enough, David also owns an art gallery in Charlotte with his wife Sonya Pfeiffer and recently published a non-fictional book entitled ‘American Injustice: Inside Stories from the Underbelly of the Criminal Justice System.’ The couple also hosts a criminal justice podcast titled ‘Abuse of Power.’

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